At night’s end, it was Ohio who took possession of the coveted bell. Sophomore running back A.J. Ouellette and senior backfield mate Daz’mond Patterson each scored a touchdown, and they combined for 151 yards on 31 carries as Ohio piled up 234 yards rushing.
Patterson opened the scoring with a 33-yard first quarter burst. Ouellette closed scoring with a key one-yard run at 2:05 of the fourth quarter. That moved the hosts in front 21-10.
When Nathan Carpenter picked off a fourth down pass by Michael Birdsong, the Ohio victory was assured.
The kickoff penalty was just one of many and both teams drew plenty of yellow flags. Marshall had 16 for 147 yards. Ohio was assessed 11 penalties for 126 yards.
The hard-hitting affair also took its physical toll. By the end, OU was down to its third string quarterback. The final injury toll will have to be evaluated this week.
In any case, much of the credit for Saturday’s win will go to the OU defense. It limited the Herd to 263 total yards, and the 10 points scored were the lowest for a Marshall team since 2011. Starting quarterback Derrius Vick was lost in the first quarter, making defensive contributions even more important. Ultimately, Marshall was able to convert on just 3 of 15 third down opportunities. It was an extra special performance by the defense given the fact Marshall blitzed OU 44-14 in 2014.
Between the defensive efficiency and Ohio’s running game, the Bobcats were able to hold a 34:34 to 25:04 edge in time of possession.
Marshall tied the game at seven-all with Devon Johnson’s 73-yard run at 10:07 of the second period. Vick’s replacement, quarterback JD Sprague put the Bobcats back on top, 14-7, following a 33-yard pass to Sebastian Smith with 3:33 to go before intermission. Smith led the Bobcts with six receptions for 86 yards and the TD.
Marshal managed just one more score, a third quarter Nick Smith field goal (33 yards0 before Ouellette’s late TD closed scoring.
Devon Johnson was a workhorse for Marshall, getting 21 carries that went for a total of 170 yards. That was all but seven of the Herd’s total rushing.
Birdsong, meanwhile, completed 16 of 32 passes for just 106 yards with no TDs. He was sacked twice and threw two interceptions.
Vick and Sprague combined for 15 of 28 with one interception and one touchdown. Each was sacked once and Vick tossed an interception.
Ohio (2-0) remains at home next wee when it hosts Southeast Louisiana (2-0) of the Southland Conference.